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Best System for 3d Rendering around $1500

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September 5, 2013 9:23:11 AM

I have always used Laptops but even the big HP (22") I had couldn't keep up with my AutoCAD and rendering (I roasted the motherboard twice) and I'm just not willing to spend another $300 (to add to the other $600 plus the $1500 the laptop cost) to keep going through motherboards. So, I'm looking for a desktop.

Dell seems to be the preferred choice (after days of googling I keep ending up back at dell.com) and I've come across several that seem decent, but it's all so confusing; since I am a software geek, not a hardware geek. So I'm frustrated, to say the least.

I am completely open to something other than a Dell (I've previously only had HP Laptops and except for the motherboard issue I have loved them).

I also have a 32" HD tv that I can use for my monitor (have the dvi to hdmi converter) so not having a monitor included isn't a deal breaker.

I currently have a T3500 (unsure of all the hardware options it came with though, and TBH I have no idea how to find that out either lol) at work and honestly, it's slow as shit when I'm using AutoCAD in 3D sometimes, and it doesn't render 'slow' but it isn't what I would consider "awesome" either. I have no idea how much this work station cost either (it could be a base model, and knowing my boss probably is lol). I do know he says mine is 'the most powerful machine in the office" .. which, considering, may not mean much in terms of what I'm looking for lol.

Here are the 4 I have heard the most about so far:

XPS 8700 (has a 23" monitor included in the price) approx $1300

4th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-4770 processor (8M Cache, up to 3.9 GHz)
Windows 7 64 bit
Microsoft® Office Home and Student 2013
12GB Dual Channel DDR3 1600MHz - 4 DIMMs Memory
1TB 7200 RPM SATA Hard Drive 6.0 Gb/s
NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 645 1.0GB GDDR5 Graphics Card
or
AMD Radeon™ HD 7570 1GB GDDR5 Graphics Card
http://www.dell.com/us/p/xps-8700/pd#overrides=fdcwgt19...;1002~OHS13M;3~12G164;6~GTX645;11~W7HP61E

Alienware X51 (has a 27" monitor included in the price) approx $1600

4th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-4770 processor (8M Cache, up to 3.9 GHz)
Windows 7 64 bit
Microsoft® Office Home and Student 2013
16GB Dual Channel DDR3 at 1600Mhz Memory
1TB SATA 6Gb/s (7,200RPM) 64MB Cache
NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 760 with 1.5GB GDDR5 Graphics Card
or
NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 670 with 2.0GB GDDR5 Graphics Card
DW 1506 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi Wireless LAN (which would be nice since I have no Ethernet in my office yet, we use Wifi only)
http://www.dell.com/us/p/alienware-x51-r2/pd.aspx#overr...;5985~S2740LCC;3~16GB2D

Dell Precision T3600 (no monitor) approx $1600

Intel® Xeon® Processor E5-1607 (Four Core, 3.0GHz, 10M)
Windows 7 Professional,SP1, No Media, 64-bit,
Microsoft® Office Home and Business 2013
2.0GB AMD FirePro™ W5000, 2 DP + DVIi Mid Range 3D Graphics Card (lots of options but this one is listed on the Autodesk Website)
2TB, 7200 RPM 3.5" SATA 6Gb/s Hard Drive
http://configure.us.dell.com/dellstore/config.aspx?oc=s...

Dell Precision T1700 (has a 22" monitor included in the price) approx $1500

Intel® Xeon® Processor E3-1225 v3 (Quad Core, 3.20GHz Turbo, 8MB, w/ HD Graphics P4600)
Microsoft® Office Home and Business 2013
Windows 7 Professional,SP1, No Media, 64-bit,
8GB (2x4GB) 1600MHz DDR3 ECC UDIMM
1 GB NVIDIA Quadro K600 (1DP & 1DVI-I) (1DP-DVI & 1DVI-VGA adapter)
500GB 3.5inch Serial ATA (7200 Rpm) Hard Drive

^^ no other options available, this is the only one with no real 'options' to customize with
http://configure.us.dell.com/dellstore/config.aspx?oc=s...

Sorry, I know that was super long .. and if you got this far .. THANK YOU!!!





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September 5, 2013 9:55:10 AM

Quote:
Dell seems to be the preferred choice (after days of googling I keep ending up back at dell.com) and I've come across several that seem decent, but it's all so confusing; since I am a software geek, not a hardware geek. So I'm frustrated, to say the least.


No, don't believe what PC Magazine tells you. For the longest time I was convinced half of ZD's advertising money came from Dell, and that their publications were glorified Dell catalogs. :lol: 

Short answer: none of the above. Alienware is grossly overrated, and pretty much anything Dell makes is garbage anymore. The problem with their systems is form factors that can't be upgraded and have a very limited lifespan. Dell is also like other big box manufacturers in that they load Windows down with so much garbage software and bloated drivers that it makes their PCs nearly unusuable. It'd be nearly impossible to calculate the number of hours I have spent cleaning out junk drivers and malware out of systems like that. Dell used to be a good manufacturer but since about 2002, their systems have had a huge drop off in quality and they're not what they used to be. Build your own. Even if you don't know how, chances are good you know somebody that does. For $1500 you can get a way better system that will last years before an upgrade is needed. Those Dell machines will last a year before you'll consider chucking them for something better.

I would suggest this:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i7-4770K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($339.99 @ Newegg)
CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-U9B SE2 37.9 CFM CPU Cooler ($52.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: ASRock Z87 Extreme4 ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($144.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Crucial Ballistix Sport 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($114.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Samsung 840 EVO 120GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($108.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: ATI FirePro V5900 2GB Video Card ($412.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Corsair 300R ATX Mid Tower Case ($49.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: SeaSonic S12II 620W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($71.30 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($17.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($99.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $1484.20
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-09-05 12:54 EDT-0400)

It doesn't include monitor, keyboard, or mouse, but this will be an infinitely better system than any Dell POS you could buy.
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September 5, 2013 9:56:40 AM

JennieFuller said:
I have always used Laptops but even the big HP (22") I had couldn't keep up with my AutoCAD and rendering (I roasted the motherboard twice) and I'm just not willing to spend another $300 (to add to the other $600 plus the $1500 the laptop cost) to keep going through motherboards. So, I'm looking for a desktop.

Dell seems to be the preferred choice (after days of googling I keep ending up back at dell.com) and I've come across several that seem decent, but it's all so confusing; since I am a software geek, not a hardware geek. So I'm frustrated, to say the least.

I am completely open to something other than a Dell (I've previously only had HP Laptops and except for the motherboard issue I have loved them).

I also have a 32" HD tv that I can use for my monitor (have the dvi to hdmi converter) so not having a monitor included isn't a deal breaker.

I currently have a T3500 (unsure of all the hardware options it came with though, and TBH I have no idea how to find that out either lol) at work and honestly, it's slow as shit when I'm using AutoCAD in 3D sometimes, and it doesn't render 'slow' but it isn't what I would consider "awesome" either. I have no idea how much this work station cost either (it could be a base model, and knowing my boss probably is lol). I do know he says mine is 'the most powerful machine in the office" .. which, considering, may not mean much in terms of what I'm looking for lol.

Here are the 4 I have heard the most about so far:

XPS 8700 (has a 23" monitor included in the price) approx $1300

4th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-4770 processor (8M Cache, up to 3.9 GHz)
Windows 7 64 bit
Microsoft® Office Home and Student 2013
12GB Dual Channel DDR3 1600MHz - 4 DIMMs Memory
1TB 7200 RPM SATA Hard Drive 6.0 Gb/s
NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 645 1.0GB GDDR5 Graphics Card
or
AMD Radeon™ HD 7570 1GB GDDR5 Graphics Card
http://www.dell.com/us/p/xps-8700/pd#overrides=fdcwgt19...;1002~OHS13M;3~12G164;6~GTX645;11~W7HP61E

Alienware X51 (has a 27" monitor included in the price) approx $1600

4th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-4770 processor (8M Cache, up to 3.9 GHz)
Windows 7 64 bit
Microsoft® Office Home and Student 2013
16GB Dual Channel DDR3 at 1600Mhz Memory
1TB SATA 6Gb/s (7,200RPM) 64MB Cache
NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 760 with 1.5GB GDDR5 Graphics Card
or
NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 670 with 2.0GB GDDR5 Graphics Card
DW 1506 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi Wireless LAN (which would be nice since I have no Ethernet in my office yet, we use Wifi only)
http://www.dell.com/us/p/alienware-x51-r2/pd.aspx#overr...;5985~S2740LCC;3~16GB2D

Dell Precision T3600 (no monitor) approx $1600

Intel® Xeon® Processor E5-1607 (Four Core, 3.0GHz, 10M)
Windows 7 Professional,SP1, No Media, 64-bit,
Microsoft® Office Home and Business 2013
2.0GB AMD FirePro™ W5000, 2 DP + DVIi Mid Range 3D Graphics Card (lots of options but this one is listed on the Autodesk Website)
2TB, 7200 RPM 3.5" SATA 6Gb/s Hard Drive
http://configure.us.dell.com/dellstore/config.aspx?oc=s...

Dell Precision T1700 (has a 22" monitor included in the price) approx $1500

Intel® Xeon® Processor E3-1225 v3 (Quad Core, 3.20GHz Turbo, 8MB, w/ HD Graphics P4600)
Microsoft® Office Home and Business 2013
Windows 7 Professional,SP1, No Media, 64-bit,
8GB (2x4GB) 1600MHz DDR3 ECC UDIMM
1 GB NVIDIA Quadro K600 (1DP & 1DVI-I) (1DP-DVI & 1DVI-VGA adapter)
500GB 3.5inch Serial ATA (7200 Rpm) Hard Drive

^^ no other options available, this is the only one with no real 'options' to customize with
http://configure.us.dell.com/dellstore/config.aspx?oc=s...

Sorry, I know that was super long .. and if you got this far .. THANK YOU!!!







Its a no-brainer actually, the T3600 with a xeon cpu and a w5000 is the better option for a AUTODESK environment.
I am a designer myself (with autodesk aswell) and i can garantee that a workstation porpouse cpu and gpu with give you the best performance, the xeon is quite better than an i7 for 3d rendering. And you should consier at least 16gb of ram, it will come quite in handy.
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September 5, 2013 9:57:11 AM

You'd be better off building your own.
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September 5, 2013 10:00:27 AM

Kurifox said:

Its a no-brainer actually, the T3600 with a xeon cpu and a w5000 is the better option for a AUTODESK environment.
I am a designer myself (with autodesk aswell) and i can garantee that a workstation porpouse cpu and gpu with give you the best performance, the xeon is quite better than an i7 for 3d rendering. And you should consier at least 16gb of ram, it will come quite in handy.


I use Autodesk as well and I run an i5-3450. The problem with Xeons is that they require far slower, more workstation specific (and naturally more expensive) ECC RAM and more expensive workstation motherboards to get the full proper use of them. They are good for Autodesk but if you build your own system rather than going with a big box POS, it'd be better to stick with an i7 IMO.
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September 5, 2013 10:08:27 AM

g-unit1111 said:
Kurifox said:

Its a no-brainer actually, the T3600 with a xeon cpu and a w5000 is the better option for a AUTODESK environment.
I am a designer myself (with autodesk aswell) and i can garantee that a workstation porpouse cpu and gpu with give you the best performance, the xeon is quite better than an i7 for 3d rendering. And you should consier at least 16gb of ram, it will come quite in handy.


I use Autodesk as well and I run an i5-3450. The problem with Xeons is that they require far slower, more workstation specific ECC RAM and more expensive workstation motherboards to get the full proper use of them. They are good for Autodesk but if you build your own system rather than going with a big box POS, it'd be better to stick with an i7 IMO.


I do agree on that as for building your own system, using a xeon is quite out of the question, the ram is expensive as you mentioned. Perhaps there would be the option for and FX-8350 insted of an i7, it saves a lot of money and teorically the 3d rendering benefits a lot from the extra cores, i handle CAD preety well at home, having that cpu (altough i have never really tested how good an i7 can handle with its 4 cores, but i would still say the FX could be a better performance for buck, imo)

EDIT: Actually let me scractch that, the pc i have here at work (a reasonable prebuilt HP) hsa an i7 and there is no comparison my home system is more powerfull, i can open very big multi layerd projects at home without the issues i have here. (altough th rest of the machine here at works falls off sgnificatly as well) I feel that more cores is a plus in multi tasking rendering.
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September 5, 2013 10:21:48 AM

Kurifox said:
I do agree on that as for building your own system, using a xeon is quite out of the question, the ram is expensive as you mentioned. Perhaps there would be the option for and FX-8350 insted of an i7, it saves a lot of money and teorically the 3d rendering benefits a lot from the extra cores, i handle CAD preety well at home, having that cpu (altough i have never really tested how good an i7 can handle with its 4 cores, but i would still say the FX could be a better performance for buck, imo)


The FX-8350 does have its' uses, I will give it that. And it is a bit more cost effective than any Intel setup you can possibly think of. However, when you go to redraw a multi-layered, detailed document depending on what processor you use it could take hours. I mean at my firm we don't really have the money to spend on new rigs as often as should be required, given the hefty graphics requirements of the current versions of ACAD and Revit. I'm used to running ACAD on 7 year old Pentium 4, Core 2 Duo, and Athlon machines - and that's the current 2012 and 2103 versions. My i5 system which I use for work purposes runs way faster than pretty much anything my firm has system wise, and I'm probably the only system on the network that has an SSD (shows you how old our systems are :lol:  ). I generally prefer Intel because of the faster processing times, but the FX CPUs do have their uses. I would get an FX mainly more for Adobe video editing usage than rendering.

Quote:
EDIT: Actually let me scractch that, the pc i have here at work (a reasonable prebuilt HP) hsa an i7 and there is no comparison my home system is more powerfull, i can open very big multi layerd projects at home without the issues i have here. (altough th rest of the machine here at works falls off sgnificatly as well) I feel that more cores is a plus in multi tasking rendering.


Comparing a home built rig to a prebuilt HP would be like comparing flying first class to flying coach. It can't be done. :lol: 
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September 5, 2013 10:27:37 AM

g-unit1111 said:

No, don't believe what PC Magazine tells you. For the longest time I was convinced half of ZD's advertising money came from Dell, and that their publications were glorified Dell catalogs. :lol: 

Short answer: none of the above. Alienware is grossly overrated, and pretty much anything Dell makes is garbage anymore. The problem with their systems is form factors that can't be upgraded and have a very limited lifespan. Dell is also like other big box manufacturers in that they load Windows down with so much garbage software and bloated drivers that it makes their PCs nearly unusuable. It'd be nearly impossible to calculate the number of hours I have spent cleaning out junk drivers and malware out of systems like that. Dell used to be a good manufacturer but since about 2002, their systems have had a huge drop off in quality and they're not what they used to be. Build your own. Even if you don't know how, chances are good you know somebody that does. For $1500 you can get a way better system that will last years before an upgrade is needed. Those Dell machines will last a year before you'll consider chucking them for something better.

I would suggest this:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i7-4770K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($339.99 @ Newegg)
CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-U9B SE2 37.9 CFM CPU Cooler ($52.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: ASRock Z87 Extreme4 ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($144.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Crucial Ballistix Sport 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($114.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Samsung 840 EVO 120GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($108.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: ATI FirePro V5900 2GB Video Card ($412.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Corsair 300R ATX Mid Tower Case ($49.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: SeaSonic S12II 620W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($71.30 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($17.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($99.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $1484.20
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-09-05 12:54 EDT-0400)

It doesn't include monitor, keyboard, or mouse, but this will be an infinitely better system than any Dell POS you could buy.


Actually I'm not looking at PC magazines .. I've been googling and looking at forums like this one lol.

I wish I knew someone who would build it (my dad used to do that stuff but hasn't in so long it would take forever to get one built, plus he's busy with a 1950's truck restoration for my son so I'm not even sure he would want to).

I need this pretty quickly, which is why I really need something out of the box ready .. not order parts, wait for them, then wait for someone to put it all together. I'm sorta painted into a corner with a new business venture that pretty much fell in my lap but requires a lot of 3d rendering .. and having to stay at work (in a not so good part of town) until 10-11 at night is starting to really suck; especially considering that the Dell T3500 I have here isn't all that spectacular performance wise.

I saw in another thread someone mentioned a place called CyberPower .. what are thoughts on them (or someone like them) that could handle building something for me.

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September 5, 2013 10:39:10 AM

Quote:
I wish I knew someone who would build it (my dad used to do that stuff but hasn't in so long it would take forever to get one built, plus he's busy with a 1950's truck restoration for my son so I'm not even sure he would want to).


If you can't build it yourself you can buy the parts and take them to a local shop, and have them build it for you. Most will charge a small fee around $75, but it's definitely worth it to build your own over going with a big box manufacturer. Newegg is usually really good with shipping and you can buy a system and they'll send the parts out to you within a day or two.

Quote:

I need this pretty quickly, which is why I really need something out of the box ready .. not order parts, wait for them, then wait for someone to put it all together. I'm sorta painted into a corner with a new business venture that pretty much fell in my lap but requires a lot of 3d rendering .. and having to stay at work (in a not so good part of town) until 10-11 at night is starting to really suck; especially considering that the Dell T3500 I have here isn't all that spectacular performance wise.


The nice thing about building your own is that you don't have to jump through hurdles to get technical support or replacement parts. If something goes wrong with a part the manufacturer will provide a replacement one for free or no charge. Dell service contracts are ridiculously expensive. Something like $200 for three years. One of the main reasons why I do not advocate going through Dell is because, at least since 2008, their power supplies are horrendously unreliable and prone to failure. I've seen tons of threads from users here who have had horrific experiences with Dell power supplies and they usually get replaced within a month or two of owning the system. That is bad. If you build your own with a quality supply you won't have to worry about any system downtime. I've never had a single problem with my rig and I've had it and maintained it for a couple of years now.

Quote:
I saw in another thread someone mentioned a place called CyberPower .. what are thoughts on them (or someone like them) that could handle building something for me.


No. Stay far away from Cyberpower. From what I've gathered with my time on this board they are an incredibly shady company. They overcharge for mediocre parts and have shifty business practices. Not to mention with them, key components like GPUs and power supplies are mystery components, they usually give you junk cases, and do not always support the systems they build.
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September 6, 2013 6:27:14 AM

So, I should have had more faith in my Dad .. he doesn't have time to build it but he directed me to a local sho p (that his IT friend uses religiously) and they are going to build me one!

Score!
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September 6, 2013 12:27:45 PM

JennieFuller said:
So, I should have had more faith in my Dad .. he doesn't have time to build it but he directed me to a local sho p (that his IT friend uses religiously) and they are going to build me one!

Score!


Nice! That will be better than any Dell or Alienware rig you can buy off the shelf.
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